This fifth to fourth century B.C.
sand-core formed amphoriskos – with its
multicoloured ribbons - is a delightful example of
a visual style that was popular at that time and
would last well into the Roman period. Prior to
the advent of glass blowing techniques
pioneered by the Romans in the late Republic,
cultures of the Mediterranean that practiced
glass forming usually did so by winding molten
strands of glass around a removable core. It was
previously thought that such a technique
employed a sand-core, but it has now been
recognized that more probably a core of straw-
tempered mud was used, around which the glass
would be formed. It is this visual impression of
ribbons of colored glass that would influence the
blown ribbon glass vessels of the early Roman
This amphoriskos, with its bulbous midriff and
delicate curves, leading from a tiny pedestal to a
stoutly flared lip flanked by two graceful
handles, displays a pastiche of blues and tans
interspersed with white, zigzagging and spiraling
around the vessel’s body.
Vessels of this type were used as containers for perfumes and cosmetics.
Reference: John W. Hayes, Roman and Pre-
Roman Glass in the Royal Ontario Museum.
Toronto: The Royal Ontario Museum, 1975. See